November 9, 2010

Higgins impressed by Buckeyes

Like most Ohio high school football players, Zach Higgins has a soft spot in his heart for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior offensive lineman from Marlington High School in Alliance has been to Ohio State several times in the past year and he hopes to be a regular in Columbus in the future.

"I went down for the spring game and I went to the Miami, (Ohio) and Purdue games," Higgins said. "They invite me to every home game but I can't go anymore because of the playoffs."

Higgins said he was very impressed each time he traveled to Columbus.

"It's crazy and loud there," he said. "There's a lot of people and (the Miami game) was my first actual college game I've ever been to so it was pretty fun."

Each time he has visited The Horseshoe, Higgins has had the opportunity to be on the field during pre-game warm-ups.

He typically used that time to watch the Buckeyes' offensive line group run through pre-game drills.

"It's sweet being down there," he said. "The offensive line is big and fast and they have quick feet."

He also spent time in the Ohio State recruiting room.

"Coach (Jim) Tressel usually just says hi but I've talked to coach (Jim) Bollman," Higgins said. "He said they like me and he wants me to make sure I send my two best game films."

Higgins also attended games at Cincinnati, Northwestern and Notre Dame and he holds a verbal offer from Ball State. He also hears from several other programs including Kentucky, Nebraska and Purdue.

"It feels awesome," Higgins said of the early attention. "I started playing football in seventh grade. I never thought it would turn into such a big thing for me."

It's early in the recruiting process, but Higgins said he has his eye on a few schools.

"Ohio State is probably a big favorite and I liked Pitt, I liked the city and the school and facilities," he said. "Notre Dame's up there too. They have all kinds of tradition and my offensive line coach, that's his favorite team."

Most schools are recruiting Higgins to play guard in college.

At Marlington, he's been a two-year starter at right tackle and he plays defensive line.

This season Marlington is off to an 11-0 start and with a 21-7 victory over Minerva in the first round of the Division III, Region 11 playoffs, the Dukes advanced to the regional semifinals on Saturday, where they'll play Licking Valley.

Higgins also is a standout wrestler at Marlington. He advanced to the 2010 Ohio state wrestling tournament and hopes to make a repeat appearance in Columbus in March.

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